Since she was tapped as McCain’s VP pick, there has been much interest in Sarah Palin’s religion. Here is what we know.
- She was baptized Catholic as an infant.
- She attended an Assemblies of God (a Pentecostal denomination) congregation as a child.
- She was president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school.
- She left the Wasilla Assemblies of God in 2001.
- Today, she does not describe herself as a Pentecostal or an evangelical, but as a “bible-believing Christian.”
The amount of misinformation and derision regarding Palin’s faith and religious views is astounding. I already mentioned the Washington Post cartoon mocking her religion. Since then, there have been some other developments that make this story worthy of a full length post.
The Iraq War was a “mission from God”?
Charles Gibson asked Palin about this quote in his interview:
As politifact.com points out, Gibson took her words out of context by not finishing the quote. (Did you notice how ABCs video clip of the quote ended abruptly?) Here is the whole quote:
"My oldest, my son Track, is a soldier in the United States Army now. ... Pray for our military. He's going to be deployed in September to
. Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan." Iraq
As you can see, in context, her words were similar to
Dinosaurs roamed the earth 4,000 years ago?
This was an internet hoax started by a blogger with 20 readers (according to him). This CNN clip shows the blogger and explains:
This rumor made its way quickly around the internet, was a topic of the much ballyhooed Matt Damon interview, and was reported in the LA Times, which printed the story based upon the word of a liberal blogger in
This YouTube video shows Palin being prayed over by a Kenyan preacher named Thomas Muthee. In the prayer, he asks God to keep her safe from “every form of witchcraft.”
Andy Barr, of Politico.com, did some research. He found a 1999 Christian Science Monitor article about Muthee indicating that he equates witchcraft with demons or evil spirits, not in the American cultural sense of someone who practices the Wicca faith. Barr also asked Harvard religion professor Jacob K. Olupana about the prayer. Opulana was surprised at the reaction over the video and remarked that, “Witchcraft as part of a belief system is real to the people who live there,” and there was “nothing unusual about what happened.”
CNBCs Keith Olbermann also reported on the video, but rather than find some experts who might understand something about Muthee’s or Palin’s faith, he interviewed
I assume that Olbermann would describe himself as a liberal, but is it liberal to mock other cultures? Liberals should be tolerant of those who are not like them and accepting of cultural differences.
Doug Weed wrote a prescient blog post shortly after Palin was announced as McCain’s VP. He said, “But wait until liberal media finds out [about her faith]. Expect all hell to break loose. She will be portrayed as a pro creationist - Neanderthal. Just wait.”
The fact that so much misinformation is spread so quickly about Palin’s religion shows that we, as a nation, have a long way to go in accepting our religious differences. These events also show that the media does a horrible job in trying to understand and accurately report on religion. I noted in an earlier post that that the media, by and large, failed to understand the context of Jeremiah Wright’s sermons. Now it is showing the same ineptitude with Palin’s religion.
Also remarkable, many in the media are treating charismatic religion like it is a fringe religion, akin to voodoo. Charismatics (these include Pentecostals) are the fastest growing religious group in the
If Palin is charismatic (she hasn’t talked much about it, so we really don’t know), her nomination is historic. Think about it. A religious movement that has influenced over 1/3 of the population has never before produced a presidential or vice-presidential nominee. Why aren’t we talking about this in a positive sense, the same way we talked about the first Jewish nominee in 2000?